The most common garden lizards are skinks, which range in size from the large Blue-tongue Lizard down to the Common Garden Skink. Skinks like to bask in the sun. By adding rocks, terracotta roof tiles and logs around your garden, you can provide them with habitat and shelter.
A rich understorey of plants will also help provide safety. Choose native tussock-forming plants such as Mat rushes (Lomandras), Tussock grasses (Poas), and Flax lilies (Dianellas). Finally, although skinks mostly eat insects (and larger species will eat snails), they also enjoy native berries. Many saltbushes produce berries and are drought hardy. Rhagodia spp., Enchylaena spp., and Atriplex spp. are good groups to try.
A blue-tongue bungalow
Geckoes are mainly nocturnal (night active), so to see them you might need a torch. Providing places for geckoes to shelter under is an important first step in attracting them to your garden. One great option is to place stacks of terracotta roof tiles in sheltered parts of your garden that receive either dappled light throughout the day or only morning sun. Wonga Vine is a great foraging species for geckoes, and suitable for both balconies and backyards. Eventually, native neighbours such as the Marbled Gecko, which is common throughout much of southern Australia, might move into your garden.
Gecko. Photo by Paul Bateman.
Perhaps the most common dragon found in urban areas is the Australian Water Dragon, occurring naturally from north Queensland down to eastern Victoria, and introduced around Melbourne and Adelaide. Another that may find its way to suitable gardens is the Jacky Dragon.
Much like skinks, dragons will hide under piles of logs, rocks and terracotta roof tiles for shelter. A dense understorey of tussock-forming plants and fruit-bearing bushes such as saltbush provide cover and fruit to supplement their diets. Dragons also often sun bask on elevated logs and stumps.
Cats and dogs are major predators of urban lizards - keep cats indoors at all times and dogs supervised outdoors. So long as they have safety, shelter, basking spaces and food, you’ll attract some lizards in no time!
Australian Eastern Water Dragon in the wild of Queensland, Australia.